A Night Out In Indy: Thai and Duckpin Bowling

Fountain Square, Indianapolis

Fountain Square

 We decided to follow Carb Day with a night out in Indy.  Our destination was the Fountain Square neighborhood for Thai at Siam Square and Duckpin Bowling at Atomic Bowl. 

We had heard and read that Fountain Square was a restored and gentrified area of Indianapolis.  We were thinking something along the lines of the Pike/Pine Corridor in Capitol Hill or Old Town Pasadena.  Not so much.  Fountain Square is basically two restored historical buildings and a few restaurants in a still dilapidated part of town.

Siam Square, however, was busy and highly recommended on Urban Spoon so we  were looking forward to some good Thai food.  The menu had a few twists such as Curry Puffs (puff pastries stuffed with ground chicken, curry powder, and potatoes), which sounded Indian and veggie tempura, which I associate with Japanese food, but we ordered both as starters.

Curry Puffs at Siam Square

Curry Puffs

The curry puffs were sweet instead of spicy, which was unexpected.  The veggie tempura was crisp but a bit thick on the batter. For entrees we chose two stirfrys: Pad Ped (a peppery dose of chicken seasoned with red chili sauce, coconut, Thai eggplant, bamboo, green beans, bell peppers and Siam Queen basil, “mild not available”) and Pad Pong Galee (a stir-fried shrimp curry with mild chili paste, celery, onions and a blend of spices including cumin, tumeric and coriander).  Heat options were mild, medium and hot, we chose medium.  

Pad Pong Galee at Siam Square

Pad Pong Galee

 Both dishes were fresh and the vegetables were crisp.  They were not oversauced or undersauced.  But they were also not spicy.  Neither dish had any heat at all.  “Medium” spicy was the equivalent of a 1 on the traditional 1-5 heat scale. 

Spice and heat are personal and perhaps Midwestern palates like things with a little less heat (having had BBQ out here though, that’s hard to believe).  For anyone accustomed to Northwestern or Californian Thai restaurants, Siam Square is a big disappointment.  Bottom line, the food is fresh, but boring. After Siam Square, we headed to Atomic Bowl to try out Duckpin Bowling.  

Duckpin Bowling Lanes

Duckpin Bowling Lanes

Duckpin Bowling was started in Baltimore, Maryland in 1900.  It is said to have been a favorite of Babe Ruth.  The pins are shorter, fatter and lighter than normal bowling pins and are attached to strings.  The balls are 1/4 the size of normal bowling balls and have no finger holes.  

Duckpin Bowling Balls

Duckpin Bowling Balls

Now, we’re not big bowlers, but even from our limited experience, I can say that Duckpin Bowling is a world different from regular bowling.  Straight down the middle doesn’t yield a strike, it gives you a nasty split instead.  Between Jim and I, we only managed one spare and the high game score (mine) was 71, despite the fact that you get three tries per frame (one more than the usual two for bowling).  If there’s a strategy to Duckpin Bowling we never discovered it.  But we had a great time just barreling the ball down the lane and seeing what would happen.  No try was ever the same and I even managed to pick off a pin or two with a bounce from a gutter ball!Seeing as I had managed the high score, clearly there was a trophy to be awarded:

Trophy For Best of the Bad Scores!

Trophy For Best of the Bad Scores!

If you’re ever in Indianapolis, head to Atomic Bowl – the Duckpin Bowling Alley is a piece of history, beautifully preserved and cared for and it is one of the strangest games you’ll ever play.
Siam Square on Urbanspoon

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5 Responses

  1. I’m a fan of the travel posts! Lets me live vicariously 🙂

  2. I’ve been reading thru your travels…i is jealous 🙂

  3. We used to play in Maryland, it’s so fun!

  4. Fun night – congrats on that trophy! =)

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